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Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene over classified documents seized in Mar-a-Lago raid

A US court last month allowed the Justice Department to resume its use of the documents as part of its ongoing criminal investigation.

Former US President Donald Trump at a rally last month.
Former US President Donald Trump at a rally last month.
Image: Chris Seward

FORMER US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has asked the US Supreme Court to intervene in the legal tussle over classified documents seized in the FBI raid of his Florida home. 

Trump urged the conservative-dominated court to stay a ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that restored access to the classified documents to the Justice Department.

The ruling cleared the way for investigators to continue examining the documents as they consider whether to bring criminal charges over the storage of of top-secret records at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House.

In lifting a hold on a core aspect of the department’s probe, the court removed an obstacle that could have delayed the investigation by weeks, if not months.

The FBI, in the affidavit used to justify the 8 August raid on Trump’s home, said it was conducting a criminal investigation into “improper removal and storage of classified information” and “unlawful concealment of government records.”

The search warrant said the probe was also related to “willful retention of national defense information,” an offense that falls under the Espionage Act, and potential “obstruction of a federal investigation.”

A “special master,” a senior New York judge, was appointed by a District Court judge in Florida to screen the seized files for materials potentially subject to attorney-client privilege.

A three-judge appellate panel ruled that while the special master conducts his review, the government should be able to continue using documents marked as classified for its criminal investigation.

Trump, in his emergency request to the Supreme Court, is appealing that unanimous ruling by the appellate panel made up of two judges appointed by Trump and one by Barack Obama.

Trump nominated three of the justices on the nine-member Supreme Court but it has delivered him several defeats in high-profile cases, most notably by refusing to hear his claims alleging fraud in the November 2020 presidential election.

© AFP 2022

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